Tiny Nick’s Gambling Picks: 2/20

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan (USA TODAY Sports)

NCAA Basketball – Arizona @ USC -7 (-110): 5:00 PM CT on FOX

USC has really emerged as the class of the Pac-12, being able to play with all the various styles of their opponents and still be dominant. The Trojans have reeled off seven straight wins, six of them by at least this margin, and are 6-1 against the number in this stretch.

While Arizona was able to put together four wins in the second half of January to move up the conference standings, they were against the weaker teams of the Pac-12, and the Wildcats have gone 1-4 both ATS and straight up in February. USC already handled Arizona by 14 points on the road last month and have only improved since then, especially on defense as they’re now the 16th-best team in points per possession allowed.

I think the Trojans dominate defensively again here on their way to a 5th consecutive double-digit win.

NCAA Basketball – Pepperdine -3 @ Santa Clara (-110): 5:00 PM CT

This Pepperdine team has a legitimate case to be considered the 2nd best team in the WCC behind Gonzaga. Their only three losses in conference have been to Gonzaga twice and on the road at BYU, two of which saw the Waves stay within the number, and they are 7-1-1 ATS in conference play.

On Tuesday Santa Clara returned from a COVID hiatus of more than three weeks and have not impressed, losing two home games — including to an awful San Diego team. The Broncos really struggle offensively as they’re 309th in points per game and 324th in offensive efficiency.

With the dynamic duo of Kessler Edwards and Colbey Ross, I see the Waves continuing their quietly strong season here and three points is a low price to buy this team at.

NCAA Basketball – San Diego +32.5 @ Gonzaga (-110): 7:00 PM CT on ESPN2

This just strikes me as a few too many points, especially given how Gonzaga has been handling their games recently.

I can’t decide if Mark Few is keenly aware of the point spread and coaches accordingly or not, as eight of Gonzaga’s last 10 games have finished within five points of the closing line. Few has been taking no chances with his starters, pulling them and letting the bench finish off blowout games with about eight minutes to go. That should provide plenty of time for San Diego to get within this very big number, especially since their first game ended up a 28-point margin.

This number has stayed remarkably steady as well, telling me there’s market value on the underdog, so I’ll hold my nose and look for the backdoor cover against the reserves in this one.


NBA – Blazers/Wizards Over 242 (-110): 9:00 PM CT

When I saw this game on the schedule I figured I would be pounding the over, but after a week of corrections I’m a little gun shy. NBA overs went on a 10-day hot stretch with a lot of public money behind it so a correction was bound to happen eventually.

That being said these two teams play horrible defense and rank in the top-10 in pace of play. I expect a shootout, but I’m keeping it in the degenerates after what happened to the Timberwolves-Raptors game last night.

NCAA Basketball – Eastern Illinois @ Austin Peay -7 (-110): 4:00 PM CT on ESPN+

This is some pretty excessive valuation of Eastern Illinois, especially against what I see as a still underappreciated Austin Peay squad. Both teams are off wins and covers, but one of those was completely fraudulent.

The Panthers won at Murray State on Thursday night while shooting 64% from behind the arc, and this 32% 3-point shooting team is due for significant regression. That was only the second conference road win on the season for EIU, who is 2-7 in those games with the losses by an average of 14 points, and at 6-18 ATS are the 10th worst ATS team in the country.

The Governors are simply hot at home, with their last four home games resulting in wins by an average of 18.2 points. This team was the preseason pick to win the OVC for a reason, so at least one more time: “Let’s Go Peay!”

Tiny Nick is 165-99 ATS (+61.7 Units) on his Locks since joining Zone Coverage. 

Every day he will offer his Locks and Degenerate picks. Locks are the games he’s confident in. Degenerates are entertaining but riskier picks. 

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Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan (USA TODAY Sports)

Locks No locks today. Degenerates MLB New York Yankees Team Total Over 4 (-110): 6:05 PM CT on MLB Network Tough schedule today with a light slate […]

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